I want to put on record that the key to the Northwest Division this season is Elisha Cuthbert.
Somewhat annoyingly, the Oilers have become the trendy pick for the NW title. I can understand why, because the upward-pointing indicators are obvious (they're bound to be healthier, they added Cole and Visnovsky, Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano improved rapidly, Tom Gilbert broke a rookie D franchise scoring record held by some punk named Coffey) and the question marks are subtler (Is a healthy Souray actually a plus? Is Garon this good? Are they really going to collect all those shootout points all over again? Which of the big rookies gets hit with the sophomore slump?). But despite my awareness of the cracks in the foundation, I can't point to any other team and say "These guys are clearly ahead of us"—certainly not with Tanguay and Rolston walking out of the division. What's interesting about the NW is that you can not only credibly envision anyone winning it, you can see absolutely anyone finishing last. A pre-season ranking forecast just seems like a sucker's bet. Elisha, you're our ace in the hole; don't let us down.